The Incline used to be a secret, but it has become one of the most popular destinations in the Pikes Peak area over the last 10 years. The Incline (located in Manitou Springs) is not for the faint at heart and is a great activity for those who are seeking a challenge.
Changes in Recent Years
Manitou Springs took over ownership and thus management of the Incline. Manitou inherited the issues with crowd management, the huge parking problem, maintenance and liability. This has taken a little away from the wildness of this wonderful attraction but brought many necessary repairs to the 100 year old Incline.
- The first thing Manitou Springs did when they took ownership was encourage climbers to take the free shuttle from the public parking lot to reduce traffic and parking troubles up Ruxton Ave.
- Hiawatha Gardens Parking Lot (free) View parking map. The free shuttle operates every day beginning at 6:00 am. It runs every 10 minutes during the peak season weekends and every 20 minutes otherwise. 2020 update: remember to keep your parking receipt to give to the Incline Attendant
- Iron Springs Chateau Parking: 444 Ruxton Ave. , Reservations recommended.
New Return Options
There are two brand new return options, one about halfway up the Incline connects to the Ute Pass Regional trail and brings you over to Barr trail. Another new return option is a bit lower.
Related Reading: 5 Parks to Visit in Colorado Springs
2020 COVID update
The Incline was shut down earlier this year at the start of the pandemic. It reopened in July 2020 with very strict rules, regulations, and attendants to avoid overcrowding:
- Reservations are required. They can be made up to 7 days prior to your climb and you can make reservations for multiple days and people. No large groups are permitted.
- You will receive a wristband and you are required to wear it until your climb is complete.
Right on the edge of gorgeous Manitou Springs lies an ascending beast known as the Incline. In essence, the Incline is merely a really long stretch of railroad ties. But for a couple decades now, the locals have been walking up and down it like a staircase. The combination of altitude, the brutal angle it’s set on, and the fact that it ascends over 2,000 feet into the sky, the Incline presents a pretty intimidating challenge. It climbs alongside Barr Trail, the path that leads directly to the top of one of Colorado’s most famous 14’ers, Pikes Peak. While this may not be for the weak at heart, all it takes is determination. And for those who feel they have bitten off a bit more than they can chew, there is a point halfway up that people can revert to Barr Trail either to go back down to the parking lot or continue their climb on a much longer yet easier trail. But I can assure you, reaching the top of the Incline is one the most rewarding experiences out there. Not only have you burned roughly 700 calories, but the sense of accomplishment is a feeling that few other challenges can deliver. And on top of that, the view of Manitou Springs from the side of the mountain is absolutely amazing, especially in Autumn when the aspen leaves are just turning yellow. No matter who you are, or what you do for a living., the Manitou Springs Incline definitely belongs on every bucket list.
How to get there:
Take 24 West, exit “Manitou Springs”,follow signs to Pikes Peak Cog Railway – basically take a left at the round about. Drive up, passing the Cog Railway Station, until you see the sign pointing to the right and UP! Drive up the steep path and park (don’t forget to pay). Don’t go up the Barr Trail – there is a side path – to go up. Just ask someone. They’ll be happy to tell you.
Chances are that the parking lot is packed. Depending on when you get there.
It’s so worth it.
PS: How do you get down? Follow the crowd! (once you come up, look to your left and you’ll see a well worn path. Follow that if there isn’t a crowd – which I can’t imagine)